What’s a Keto Diet?
You may have heard of the ketogenic diet (often called by its shorthand, “keto”) but you may not actually know much about it. This article explains the basics of the ketogenic diet, with a few cautionary tips you should know if you are thinking about giving it a go.
A ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been used for various purposes, including weight loss and certain medical conditions. The primary principle of the ketogenic diet is to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat, which leads to a metabolic state called ketosis.
What exactly are ketones?
Ketones are water-soluble byproducts of the breakdown of fat in the liver. The of ketones is a normal bodily process that occurs regularly, including while we sleep. Our liver is always some ketones—but when our daily carbohydrate and protein consumption are high enough, our ketone remains relatively low.
When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis. It's important to note that the ketogenic diet is a short term diet that's focussed on weight loss rather than the pursuit of health benefits.
Different types of ketogenic diets
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
Standard ketogenic diet : This is a very low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. It typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs
Cyclical ketogenic diet : This diet involves periods of higher carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.
Targeted ketogenic diet : This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
High protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
However, only the standard and high protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.
The information in this article mostly applies to the standard ketogenic diet , although many of the same principles also apply to the other versions.
A sample keto meal plan for 1 week
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil with spinach and mushrooms.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with a side of roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
- Dinner: salmon with a lemon and dill sauce, served with a side of steamed asparagus.
- Snack: Handful of almonds.
- Breakfast: Keto-friendly smoothie made with unsweetene almond milk, avocado, spinach, and a scoop of protein powder.
- Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes cucumber, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Dinner: Zucchini noodles (zoodles) with meatballs and marinar sauce.
- Snack: Celery sticks with almond butter.
- Breakfast: Crustless spinach and feta quiche.
- Lunch: Tuna salad lettuce wraps with mayo, celery, and spices.
- Dinner: Grilled steak with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts.
- Snack: Hard-boiled eggs.
- Breakfast: Omelette with bacon, cheese, and sautéed peppers.
- Lunch: Shrimp stir-fry with mixed vegetables in a soy sauce and garlic sauce.
- Dinner: chicken thighs with roasted green beans.
- Snack: Keto-friendly protein bar.
- Breakfast: Coconut flour pancakes topped with sugar-free syrup and berries.
- Lunch: Cauliflower fried rice with chicken, eggs, and mixed vegetables.
- Dinner: cod with a side of sautéed spinach.
- Snack: Sugar-free Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of chia seeds.
- Breakfast: Smoked salmon with cream cheese and cucumber slices.
- Lunch: Keto-friendly chicken Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing.
- Dinner: Pork chops with a side of steamed broccoli.
- Snack: Cucumber slices with cream cheese.
- Breakfast: Bacon and egg muffins made with almond flour.
- Lunch: Zucchini noodles with shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and pesto sauce.
- Dinner: turkey meatballs with a side of cauliflower mash.
- Snack: Olives.
Always try to rotate the vegetables and meat over the long term, as each type provides different nutrients and health benefits.